On Nov. 9, Representatives from Jager Pro™ Hog Control Systems, spoke to the Russell County Commission about the ‘exponentially exploding’ population of feral pigs. The pigs are a huge problem for landowners and are becoming a problem to everyday citizens due to their very destructive nature and sheer numbers.
“The purpose for us going before the commission was mainly to create awareness of the hog problem in Russell County,” said Jager Pro™ Director of Dealer Operations, Chris Monhof. “We’re trying to get the legislators to change the regulation and guidelines concerning hog control vs. hog hunting in the state of Alabama...We’ve been trying to get the Alabama Dept. of Natural Resources to change the regulation for the past two or three years. They’ve basically tied our hands for doing hog control as a business in the state.”
Commission Chair Chance Corbett said that the commission has received complaints from some landowners.
“As a commissioner, I support programs that help prevent the hogs from damaging public and private property,” he said. “We were approached by Jager Pro asking for help with being able to hunt hogs at night during deer season. As we explained to the company, the game and fish laws are created and managed by the Alabama state legislature and not at the county level.”
Wild pigs are not native to the United States. First introduced to the Americas by the Spaniards, they are now found in 38 states. Males, on average, can reach 220 lbs., though there have been reports of much larger boars. Females, on average, are upwards to 180 lbs. An adult can average 4.1 feet in height at the shoulder, though some have been reported as being bigger. They are omnivorous and with a gestation period of approximately 120 days, they are also rapid breeders. Females become reproductive at just eight to 10 months of age and can produce 10-12 piglets per litter; however, more commonly, wild litters are around four to six piglets.
The pigs don’t belong here, not in the United States, not in Alabama, and certainly not in Russell County. They destroy row crops, fields, yards, native flora, and have even been known to prey on young animals, killing chickens, lambs, and other small animals. They foul water sources, consume native wildlife and plants, compete for food and habitat resources with native animals, cause erosion with their rooting behavior, unbalance ecosystems, and can render areas unpassable for farm machinery. They are also a nightmare for ground-nesting birds, such as quail. They are aggressive, and with their tusks, size, and speed, they are actually very dangerous. Even now, people purposefully bring the pigs onto their land for hunting, but the pigs are highly intelligent and many escape into the wild, exacerbating an already bad problem.
Monhof said that they are not allowed to hunt hogs at night during deer season.
“I fully support that and understand that, but there needs to be a difference in hog hunting and hog control from a professional standpoint,” he said. “Professional hog hunter operators cannot do their jobs. We are not sport hunting. We were trying to bring awareness to the commissioners so that they can help us create change in the state of Alabama.”
He said the problems with the pigs are in District 5, 6, and 7 in Russell County and that the row farmers and turf farmers, as well as homeowners, are taking losses because of the damage caused by the pigs. Once the pigs are trapped, usually with a corral type trap with a remote control drop gate, they are dispatched since they are invasive and known to carry diseases. Wild pigs are known to carry brucellosis and pseudo-rabies. The meat can be eaten, but it has to be well-done. Monhof said he’s eaten it for many years and has never gotten sick, but he makes sure it is cooked thoroughly. He can’t sell the meat and since it isn’t USDA-approved, nor will dog food processors take it. However, he can give it away. So, if you don’t hunt or can’t hunt and have a hankering for wild hog, you might try giving Jager Pro™ a call. And if you are having problems with feral pigs on your property, the company does high tech, high volume hog control ™. You can find them at www.jagerpro.com, or call at 706-718-9789, ext. 2.